A $2 million tax incentives package helps land a new anchor tenant for Quail Springs Mall.
BY MARK BEUTLER
When Quail Springs Mall opened in 1980, northwest Oklahoma City was a very different place. The mall was the only retail location for miles and boasted some of the top stores of its day: Rothschild’s, Sanger-Harris, J.C. Penney and Sears. Folks could dine at Morrison’s Cafeteria, or cruise the LP bins over at Record Bar.
But times changed, and so did shoppers. When Sears closed earlier this year, the loss of one of Quail Springs’ original anchor stores left a void. Oklahoma City officials worked with General Growth Properties Inc., which owns the mall, to find a suitable occupant.
That new tenant, Von Maur, is expected to open in 2014. Headquartered in Iowa, the department stores feature products from leading brands such as Eileen Fisher, Free People, Coach, Joe’s Jeans and Tommy Bahama.
To lure Von Maur, the Oklahoma City Council approved an incentives package last week that includes $2 million in sales tax rebates over the next decade.
“Those rebates will be paid out dependent on the success of the store,” said Brent Bryant, city economic development program manager.
Under the agreement, he said, Von Maur must generate at least $27.5 million in sales its first year and $30 million in the second through 10th years.
“Sears typically generated around $20 million in sales annually, and we believe Von Maur will be able to achieve its target goal,” Bryant said. “It is vital to keep Quail Springs Mall as a retail attraction in Oklahoma City. This will fill an existing gap in apparel and home furnishings, and will enhance the overall tenant mix in the east wing of the mall.”
above Quail Springs Mall
The Sears space will receive a complete renovation beginning next summer, according to a news release issued jointly by General Growth Properties and Von Maur. The changes will feature Von Maur’s exterior brick façade and residential ambience, complete with antiques, original artwork, an open-floor plan and music from the store’s grand piano.
Officials with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce noted that revenue brought in by the mall is critical to the local economy.
“Quail Springs has always been a healthy mall in terms of revenue,” said Jessica Herrera, manager of the chamber’s retail development and recruitment. “Having a store like Von Maur is very significant. It was sad to lose an anchor store like Sears, but the fact we were able to bring a new store to market so quickly is impressive. Many Oklahomans and even Texans may not be familiar with the upscale Von Maur, so the regional draw will really help with revenue.”